With the onset of the rain this week, it’s always good to review some ‘best practice’ tips for dealing with the weather, while still enjoying your ride.
Here are some tips/tricks we’ve learned in our 7+ years of car-free commuting in Portland:
1) Always have a spare pair of socks and underwear at the office
2) Use ziplock bags inside your waterproof bike bag for added rainproofing for phone, wallet, etc.
3) If you wear glasses, a short brimmed cycling cap works great to keep the rain out of your eyes/glasses.
4) Lights lights lights. (When in on roads with car, pedestrian traffic, we prefer to use the flashing setting. However, if riding on a protected bike path, use a solid beam, but be careful to not point your light up towards oncoming riders faces.
5) Fenders and/or rain pants are really a must-have in downpour weather. Get them soon before they all sell out in your size – it happens every year!
6) I personally always prefered the hood of my jacket over the helmet (if your jacket can stretch enough, and still allow you to zip up fully). However, in the last year I got a nice snug rain jacket that zips up the neck a bit. When worn with a cap and helmet, I really never really get too soaked.
7) Layering is usually best, as rain tends to soak into your jacket if it’s on its second or third season. Start with a wool/wicking base layer, followed waterproof-ish jacket or vest, and then have a rainshell on top of all of it. (Yes, 100% not fun when you get sweaty!)
8) Waterproof socks (vs shoe covers) can keep feet and shoes dry, as rain pants will allow the water to drip into socks/shoes over time.
9) As many folks who have been year-round riders always say: “In the Pacific NW, there is no such thing as bad weather – only bad gear.” Invest in good quality waterproof jackets, rain pants, and bags – it will last 2-3 seasons before needing replacement.
Do you have other great tips for bicycling during the rainy months? Whatever you do… just embrace it!
— Kevin Schmidt, PT, MSPT, CMP, Bike PT is Owner/Founder of Pedal PT in Portland, Oregon.